Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mini-Moon Time and a Blog-cation

My vacation starts tomorrow.  Oh gosh, you have no idea how excited I am.  I don't know why but I am one of those people who is just absurdly obsessed with taking vacations and traveling somewhere for them.  You won't catch me doing a stay-cation.  Vacations are supposed to be a break from the norm.  And you're probably saying, "Jewel...don't all people like vacations."  And the answer  I KNOW people who do not take vacations.  I know some people who haven't taken a vacation, ever, despite having the means to.  I know people who have so much vacation time saved up because they never take vacations, that you would probably want to strangle them if you thought that meant they'd give you their vacation time.  

I am not one of those people. I blame my parents.  My dad was in the military and every summer we took a vacation.  Not just a "school's out let's goof around at home" vacation.  We were blessed enough to travel places, mostly because we were moving so it just made sense to go to Disney World while we move.  And Ben's family was kind of the same way.  They drove across the country for many years, stopping at different places and doing all sorts of fun things.  Growing up with a yearly vacation really warped my sense of reality.  When I first started working, I think within the first month, I sent an email to my friends, alerting them of a group vacation.  The first vacation we would take after I'd graduated and had a grown people job.  We went to good ol' San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The first vacation I took was over a long weekend; it was essentially four days long.  I had just started working and I didn't have that much vacation time but by golly, I was going on a vacation.  Upon returning from Puerto Rico, I was hellbent on planning another vacation.  This one had to bigger.  It had to be better.  It had to be Maui.  I told Ben we were going to Maui.  He said OK. And we went.  That's what I love about Ben. He's not much for planning vacations, but he's always down to go on one.  We make a great pair.  

Later that year (2011) we moved in together.  I knew funds would be tight for a number of reasons.  We were paying a much higher rent for living inside the beltway, closer to Washington, D.C.  And I was secretly hoping/thinking that we wouldn't have enough money to go on a vacation in 2012 because Ben was planning to propose.  Rings ain't cheap!  So when I asked him if he thought a trip to Costa Rica in Spring 2012 would work, I naturally thought he'd be hesitant, because, after all, he was going to propose.  Wrong.  Without blinking an eye, he said "Sure.  Costa Rica sounds great." I should have been happy but I was fuming.  I thought Ben would have said no to a Costa Rica trip if he was really planning to propose.  Little did I know that Ben was planning a surprise, secret proposal.  Like most men should be.  And that was all part of his little game.   We got engaged March 2012, and my Costa Rica plans were scratched because we had a wedding to pay for.  But all was not lost!  We took another 4-5 day vacation in May to Miami to attend my grandparents' vow renewal.  

Which brings us to 2013.  Kidney transplants really do cramp your vacation planning. As I've written about before, Ben and I were planning the most spectacular honeymoon to Santorini, Greece.  Looking at pictures of Greece gave me life some days.  We were so excited.  We kept hope alive that we might still be able to go to Greece, up until about three weeks before the kidney transplant happened.  I made a call to our honeymoon planner, and explained that going to Greece in June was not going to be a reality.  My kidney transplant was coming up and Santorini just doesn't have the hospital infrastructure that I need at this point in my life.  Our honeymoon planner was and is so understanding.  He's been working with us to postpone our honeymoon until Spring 2014.  As many people have said to me, Greece will always be there.  It is one of the oldest countries in the world.

So with our Greece travel plans pushed back, that left Ben and I without a vacation to take this year.  This could not happen.  There's just something about going to a different place, even if it's the most boring place, and seeing something other than the same scenery that I see every day.  It refreshes you and makes you appreciate that scenery that you see every day even more. go to Hawaii.  Ben will agree with me:  there is not enough scenery in the state of Virginia to make me forget how gorgeous Hawaii is.  It should be illegal for a state to be THAT beautiful.  But I digress.

I asked Ben if he thought it would be possible to go on a vacation this year.  He said yes but it had to be a domestic vacation for health and budget reasons.  We reviewed several locations.  New Orleans was one of them.  Acadia was another.  One of my savvy travel friends suggested Lake Tahoe. Every place we reviewed had it's attractive qualities and we want to see all of these places eventually. But nothing really grabbed us and made us feel like we HAD to go THIS year.  Then during a quick search of romantic destinations to visit in the U.S. I came across Sedona, Ariz.  I had never heard of it, but apparently most other people have.  Ever since Ben and I decided to go to Sedona, we've been mentioning it to various friends and people at work and family members.  And all of those people have said this combination of things:  A) that they've been there and it's really beautiful; B) that they haven't been there, but they've heard it's beautiful; or C) that they know someone who's been there and that person said it was beautiful.  Then there was this Frommer's guide: 

"There is not a town anywhere in the Southwest, perhaps anywhere in the country, with a more beautiful setting than Sedona."
Well alrighty then!  When you've only heard great things about a place, that's a good sign that you should plan to visit at some point.  From our hotel, it's a two-three hour drive to the Grand Canyon.  I've never been to the Grand Canyon and the funny thing is I don't actually know many people who have.  Most of my friends haven't been, and most of my family members haven't either.  Except for my new family.  Ben's immediate family went to the Grand Canyon during one of their road trips.  The Grand Canyon is one of the few places that I've heard Ben actually describe with excitement, and he doesn't get excited about anything.  The fact that he's agreed to go with me to the Grand Canyon, despite having been there before, is a BIG DEAL.  

Anyways, enough about where I'm going!  Let's talk about my OTHER vacation.  My blog-cation, aka time off from bloggin.  I've been trying to be a consistent blogger ever since I started this blog.  This isn't the first blog I've had.  I've had others and they all failed because I wasn't consistent.  With this blog, I've managed to keep my promise to myself to post a certain number of times each week.  But I figured I would coincide my mini-moon with a blogging break.  There are a number of things I want to share on this blog, and I just need more time to meditate and journal to fully develop them.  To the readers of this blog:

THANK YOU SO MUCH for coming to my little space on the internet, to share in my trials and triumphs, my whining and rejoicing, my pleasures, pain, run-on sentences, typos, and tangents over the past eight or nine months.  I write for you just as much as I write for myself.  

That's AUGUST.  Stop reading this and go enjoy your summer.  Plan a stay-cation, if you must.  But just this once.